Taiwan lowers 2013 growth outlook
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Taipei - Taiwan cut its 2013 full-year growth outlook for the second time in three months on Friday, reflecting weak prospects for the island's export machine as global demand remains slack.
The government statistics agency cut its 2013 growth forecast to 1.74 percent from a previous 2.31 percent and its 2014 outlook to 2.59 percent from 3.37 percent, in line with what Reuters had reported before the official announcement .
But the agency raised third-quarter year-on-year growth to 1.66 percent from a preliminary reading of 1.58 percent.
Taiwan is one of the most exposed among Asian exporting economies to fluctuations in overseas demand, particularly for high-tech items. Europe's debt crisis, China's slowing growth and a spotty recovery in the United States have restrained consumer demand for the smartphones and computers it exports.
The government in a statement attributed the downward revision to uncertainties arising from the restructuring of the Chinese economy and the US Federal Reserve's exit from its quantitative easing program.
Taiwan is the second Asian exporter to cut its growth forecast this week after Thailand.
Some analysts, however, were more upbeat than Taiwan's authorities about the island's prospects.
“I think the government is being overly pessimistic,” said Andrew Tsai, an economist with Taipei-based KGI Securities. “Though we are still waiting for the economy to start accelerating again, we don't think it will take as long as the government predicts.”
In October, the island's year-on-year exports declined for the second month, following a steep 7-percent drop in September .
Export orders, however, which are indicators of future demand, have risen for four consecutive months, including a better-than-expected 3.16-percent gain in October .
Orders from China, Taiwan's top export market, climbed 3.2 percent, while those from the United States registered a strong 9-percent gain on year-end holiday demand.
Taiwan's industrial output also gained over the past two months, despite having fallen in six months since the beginning of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
With much of Asia still looking to the United States to boost global growth, recent downward revisions to US GDP add to the uncertainty over the region's prospects. - Reuters